Why Are Instagram Stories So Addicting?

  • 18 months ago
4 minute read.
Why Are Instagram Stories So Addicting?

Instagram Stories have taken the platform by storm, with millions of users using them daily. It's not hard to see why they are so addicting, either—they're fun and easy to use, and they offer an easy way to communicate with friends and family without effort. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're good for you.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons why Instagram Stories may be hurting your life more than helping it. Learn how to cope if you have an Instagram addiction so you can prevent it from negatively impacting your life.

The Psychology Behind Why Instagram Is So Addictive

From a psychological standpoint, there are a few reasons why people might get addicted to Instagram Stories. For one, it's a form of what's called doom scrolling. This is when people mindlessly scroll through social media as a way to numb out from the adverse events happening in the world.

Additionally, the dopamine-inducing likes and comments on our posts can create a sense of validation and belonging that keeps us coming back for more. It's also been found that people who use their phones too much suffer from higher anxiety levels than those who don't.

Instagram stories are so addictive, why?

  • Instagram stories are addictive because they take the person scrolling through them to be the movie's protagonist, which appeals to the ego and creates a sense of belonging.
  • People are addicted to Instagram stories in that they offer an escape from reality into an alternate universe where everything seems perfect and beautiful.
  • The permanence of pictures on Instagram also makes it hard for some people to put their phones down. They worry about missing out on what's happening with their friends or family if they stop following someone's story without getting notifications whenever something new is posted.
  • It's easy for people who may already feel disconnected from society or low in self-esteem to fall victim to the shiny façade social media presents.
  • When you scroll through Instagram feeds, your brain releases dopamine at the same level as cocaine does. That type of chemical reaction can lead to addiction.

Mental Health Impact of Instagram Stories

Avoiding stories can be tricky because they appear at the top of your feed when you open the app. Once you're in a story, scrolling through your feed becomes tedious because you must tap a video or photo to watch it. Additionally, the fact that you can see who has viewed your story adds a layer of social interaction that is unique to this platform.

Social media offers a false view of life and can cause isolation from reality in those who don't have many offline relationships. It can lead to:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • More pressure to look good and portray a positive life
  • Inability to fully engage with real life

Anxiety And Depression:

Instagram can be triggering for people with anxiety or depression. It's easy to find yourself scrolling through the lives of your friends and acquaintances, seeing only the highlights of their lives while feeling like you're doom scrolling through your own life.

Social media use is also a significant risk factor for teen depression and suicide. Teens who are active on social media have more thoughts about suicide than those who are not active on social media.

More Pressure To Look Good And Portray A Positive Life:

People are exposed to the imagery that is digitally enhanced, which causes them to feel pressure from unrealistic body expectations and beauty standards.

This makes them compare themselves with others, often resulting in social media-induced shame. Such comparison can negatively impact body image because people tend to overestimate how others see them compared with how they appear in pictures or videos.

Inability To Fully Engage With Real Life:

Social media use has been linked to low grades, sleep deprivation, and weight gain due to increased time spent online.

  • One study found that using Facebook daily made users feel less happy due to FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Additionally, some studies suggest that multitasking during face-to-face interactions affects communication skills by reducing empathy and depth perception, among other adverse effects.
  • Studies have shown that the blue light from screens interferes with natural melatonin production and delays sleep onset. Multitasking creates attentional fatigue because it requires cognitive resources.
  • The lack of quality interactions may lead to fewer genuine friendships, undermining well-being and meaningful relationships.

How To Break Your Instagram Addiction?

If you're finding that you're spending too much time on Instagram, you can do a few things to break the habit. First, be more mindful of how much time you spend on the app. If you are scrolling aimlessly, put the phone down and walk away. Secondly, limit yourself to a certain amount of time per day. Set a timer if you have to. Once your allotted time is up, log off and do something else.

  • Reduce the number of notifications on your phone and plan for when you will check them.
  • Detach yourself from social media by taking breaks and only responding to messages in person. Commit to doing something offline daily, like going to the library or cooking dinner with friends.
  • Find a hobby that is unrelated to social media. Engage in an activity that requires real-life interaction with people around you - volunteering at a food bank, joining a club, walking your dog - instead of sitting at home scrolling through feeds.
  • Stop checking the profiles of people who aren't close to you. Spend less time looking at other peoples' stories and more time creating yours. And finally, be mindful of how much time you spend on social media. Put some limits on it, and remember why you started using it in the first place.


It's no secret that Instagram Stories is one of the most popular features on the platform. The success of this feature has been driven by its easy-to-use design and intuitive user interface.

Addiction to Instagram stories can lead to doom scrolling, simply watching videos without actually clicking on anything while feeling frustrated that you're not doing anything productive with your day.

Additional resource that might help:

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